September 16, 2016

The Pull List: 14 September 2016, Part 2

I remarked last month that the first issue of Animosity was a little too short and abrupt to really sell what the series was about. The second issue proves it: while the first saw animals suddenly and inexplicably gain human-level intelligence and the ability to speak, it felt like a sort of zombie thriller variant. This second issue presents a much more original story, with humans and animals negotiating in vain to gain some kind of peace and civilization sliding off the rails in the face of over-population and widespread food shortages. The issue's final pages suggest another kind of comic again: at least writer Marguerite Bennett is keeping her readers on their toes.

Rafael De Latorre's artwork is a little sketchy but broadly effective. The low panel count on each page continues to be an issue, as it restricts the amount of story the comic can get through each month - I feel we need a little more to really make it a satisfying read. It is looking solid, however, and the next few issues will determine just how strong a book it really is. Certainly the ingredients are all there. (3/5)

Animosity #2. Aftershock Comics. Written by Marguerite Bennett. Art by Rafael De Latorre.

Under the cut: reviews of Action Comics, All-Star Batman and Detective Comics.

Action Comics #963
DC Comics. Written by Dan Jurgens. Art by Patrick Zircher. Colours by Arif Prianto.
One of the most weirdly complicated aspects of the Rebirth version of Action Comics has been the presence of a third Clark Kent. The first - the New 52 Superman - died just before Rebirth hit. The second - the pre-New 52 Superman - has returned and taken his successor's place. Who the man walking around Metropolis claiming to be Clark Kent actually is has been a mystery. That mystery isn't solved yet, but at least this issue kicks off a new storyline actively focusing on him. It's a nice change of tone and focus compared to the previous issues of fighting Doomsday, and turns a weird irritation into a genuinely intriguing mystery. Who is Clark Kent? I find myself actually rather keen to find out. (4/5)

All-Star Batman #2
DC Comics. Written by Scott Snyder. Art by John Romita Jr, Declan Shalvey and Danny Miki. Colours by Dean White and Jordie Bellaire.
To an extent I think All-Star Batman exists purely to give Scott Snyder a chance to write for all the DC villains he failed to get around to in the last six years or so of writing Batman comics. With Batman dragging Two-Face cross-country in the hope of curing his illness once and for all, every single assassin and super-villain on the east coast is trying to stop him. This issue that means fights with Killer Croc, Amygdla, King Shark and the KGBeast - now reimagined for the current DC continuity as simply "the Beast". In a back-up serial, Batman continues training Duke Thomas to be a hero as they track down the psychopath Victor Zsasz. It's great stuff: fast-paced, ambitious and action-packed. (4/5)

Detective Comics #940
DC Comics. Written by James Tynion IV. Art by Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira. Colours by Adriano Lucas.
Over in this week's other Bat-book, a fleet of military drones are bearing down on Tim Drake without any clear way to save his life. It's a dramatic finale to the first story arc of the Rebirth era Detective Comics, but it's also a huge clue towards the over-arching storyline that kicked off a few months ago in DC Rebirth #1. Readers who haven't been following Action Comics will likely be confused, which is a risk DC is taking with this strategy: a line-wide background story leading to what I can only assume is the next big event series, but scattered among such a wide array of titles that few readers are likely to get the whole picture. That's a little frustrating, and takes a little back from what is otherwise a pretty good issue. (3/5)

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